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2016: A Year of Awakening

January 1, 2016 @ 8:00 am - 5:59 pm UTC+0

Announcing our first year-long program, A Year of Awakening, starting in January, 2016.

Do you feel your spiritual practice and your daily life don’t play well together? Are you swamped with so many options for spiritual teachings and practices that you don’t know what to choose?

We’ve designed this program for experienced practitioners who’d like to access more joy and freedom through a supported, regular spiritual practice. We created this program to help you leverage your practice to triumph over the ups and downs of daily life.

Note: Program starts January 1, 2016. Registration is now closed. 

*If you were unable to register or are new to these teachings, you’re invited to weekly streaming teachings that take place throughout the year. See “What’s It Going to Take?” below for details. 

Who Will Benefit From A Year of Awakening … and Why

We know that many of you have a regular spiritual practice and a strong aspiration. You probably also have a busy and complicated life, that makes it challenging to balance these involvements.

As a committed spiritual practitioner, we appreciate that you aspire to meditate and attend teachings and retreats regularly. You’re also committed to your career and your community, and perhaps a personal relationship. The competition between these worthy commitments and decisions about where to allocate your time and money and energy can be a source of vexation and even stress.

When trying to integrate dharma and our daily lives, most people invest a lot of themselves into serious practice, attend teachings and retreats, and find ways to apply dharma in their life and work. They practice and undertake Karma Yoga together with their sangha. They might even try to be satisfied with the status quo in other parts of their lives, such as work or family, which may feel not entirely under our control.

We can undertake many years of practice and still fall into unawakened habitual patterns in our daily lives (also known as primitive views, conflicting emotions, and a conditioned pull to “just get by”). By staying in touch with the teachers and teachings year-round, you get access to the ongoing clarity and truthfulness of the awakening mind, and build habits to keep awakening front and center on a daily basis.

As dharma teachers and practitioners, we aspire to exemplify what awakening looks like when we live it full time. In a sense, this is the Big Picture of what life is about.

We aspire to offer a source and role models of loving kindness, clarity and truthfulness, and to demonstrate awakening in action.

Then we can be a better resource, offering more loving kindness, more compassion and more wisdom to our sangha, family, friends and colleagues.

And let’s talk about the benefits for you of this year-long course.

Dharma women studentsThe more time spent with awakening beings, the more we are awakening: this is what we call “the tuning fork principle.” This program is designed to tune up a community of practitioners, so that you can in turn help tune other members of our sangha. We’re going to make beautiful music together.

A year of consistent effort and application of dharma teachings and practice is sure to yield profound transformation: deeper realization, greater bliss, and fuller integration with our daily lives. Increased and ongoing focus on dharma is what inevitably leads us to fuller awakening. That’s something to be excited about.

You’ll enjoy stronger, more “dharmic” relationships with the community of practitioners. This will provide you with support throughout the year and beyond. There’s good reason that Sangha – the community of practitioners – is one of the Triple Gems.

We’ll teach throughout the year on our emerging pillars of Dharma Training, Karma Yoga and Dāna, so you’ll be among the best informed regarding these teachings and practices, so revolutionary for the West.

As always we’ll be integrating traditional Buddhist philosophy with modern findings in psychology, science, and organizational development. This will empower you to share dharma with your friends and colleagues, in an accessible way that’s relevant to them as well as you.

Lastly, the program has been carefully crafted with the typically full modern life in mind. The homework is chosen as a trim tab to get the maximum amount of leverage in your life and work and relationships, with a minimum amount of time and energy. This is designed to be a highly sustainable spiritual practice.

Apply for Year Long Dharma Program

This Year-Long Program Offers Participants:

  • An in-person retreat to start the year: This serves to ground us, provides regular and consistent contact with teachers (once more, the “tuning fork principle”), provide powerful teachings and a supportive environment for solid practice. The theme is the Visuddhimagga (The Path of Purification), a profound 5th-century treatise of Theravadin doctrine by the monk Buddhaghosa, describing how to cultivate purification of body, emotions and mind. This sets the awakening tone for the rest of 2016.
  • The opportunity and support to develop a robust personal dāna practice. As dāna holds pride of place as the first parami, and since its perfection results in the inevitable perfection of the other five parami, a focus on strong and consistent dāna will provide an unshakable foundation for the rest of your spiritual practice. It will also ensure the success and sustainability of this program and the viability of future programs like it.
  • Quarterly streamed classes: Benefit from regular contact with the teachers and other committed practitioners through the vehicle of fundamental teachings. Throughout the year streamed classes will be on select Majjhima Nikaya sutras, Mahayana sutras, the four levels of Tantra, and Namgyal Rinpoche’s seminal work on Womb, Karma and Transcendence. This diverse yet methodical approach to a range of classic to contemporary Buddhist philosophy offer a solid understanding of the teachings and practices embraced by our lineage. We encourage participants to attend live, and in appreciation of time zone challenges we’ll also make the recordings available for the following week; by viewing within the week you can stay on schedule and be in sync with the teachers and community of practitioners, the year-long sangha. Weekly office hours provide time for questions that arise during the week. See the calendar below for details.
  • A light amount of home study – primarily reading of relevant texts – will help keep the thread of consistent dharma practice and reflection on dharmic tenets and principles going throughout your week. The readings are chosen to build a solid, well-rounded foundation of knowledge of the spiritual practices undertaken in this lineage. To respect participants’ other commitments, reading assignments will be modest.
  • At-home “flash” retreats. To support a deeper and more solid meditation practice throughout the year, there will be three three-day retreats for you to do at home, with virtual support from the teachers. These target the focused integration of deep practice with daily life. These will take place on long weekends (as observed by Canada and the US and some other countries – please check your own calendar): Fri – Sun, Mar 25-27; Sat – Mon, May 21-23; and Sat – Mon, Sept 3-5. All dates and times given are in the Mountain time zone, in which Clear Sky is located. See the attached calendar.
  • Triple Gem Lifeline: To provide some powerful, personalized support to your practice and ongoing spiritual unfolding, this program offers regular, intimate personal dialogue with the teachers and other committed practitioners, through regular online classes and office hours. These will include teachings about how to apply dharma to daily life, relevant to alleviating suffering, others’ and one’s own. The modest cohort size was chosen to allow for personalized attention and also maximize personal connections between teachers and participants.
  • A unique, interactive, Namgyal-style retreat to end the year. On the topic of Namgyal Rinpoche’s Womb, Karma & Transcendence, the year-end retreat offers the opportunity to do personalized work on the womb experience. This work is original to the Namgyal lineage stream and to our knowledge is a unique contribution to Buddhist philosophy and practice. People who’ve undertaken this work call it “life-changing.”

Apply for Year Long Dharma Program

Why Are Sensei & Cata Offering This Particular Program?

Doug Duncan and Catherine PawasaratOver the past several years we’ve seen that practitioners benefit from ongoing support to keep our dharma training vibrant, and our practice alive and practically relevant in our day-to-day lives. We’ve also seen the need for support to keep local sanghas dynamic and growing.

To this end we crafted this year-long course with minimal homework and maximum support for your spiritual practice. The majority of it is online so that you can do it in the comfort of your own environment, saving time and money and travel. The year-round schedule means that you don’t need to spend time and energy deciding what you are going to study and when – we do that for you. It’s also spread out over the year so that you can have support for your practice year-round, while not demanding too much of your time at once. At the same time, the course provides context for an ongoing spiritual involvement that makes it a central pillar of your life.

We see this year-long program as a transition to a more developed curriculum, with clearer steps and stages and milestones.

The streaming classes in particular are designed to dovetail with activities you undertake with your local sangha. They can be viewed together as a weekly sangha class, or your sangha gatherings may be used for group discussion regarding the streaming topics. Or, depending on your personal and sangha spiritual goals and resources available, the streamings may be an addition to your sangha gatherings.

Apply for Year Long Dharma Program

What We’re Covering When


*Check your local date and time.

What’s It Going To Take?


Here’s the low-down on what you’ll need for the year-long program:

  • In-person attendance for a two-week retreat at Clear Sky, Cranbrook, BC, Canada, Jan. 1-17, 2016, on the Visuddhimagga, and
  • In-person attendance for two-week retreat at Clear Sky, Dec. 16-31, 2016, based on the exercises in Womb, Karma & Transcendence, by Namgyal Rinpoche.
  • Ongoing reading;
  • Ongoing engagement, including:
  • Regular access to high-speed internet access
  • Consistent attendance of weekly streaming classes on Mondays (between 60 and 90 minutes each), or weekly viewing of the recording.

Feb 29  – Mar 21 Teachings on assigned Majjhima Nikaya suttas

-Apr 25 – May 16 Teachings on assigned Mahayana sutras

-Aug 8 – Aug 29 Teachings on the four levels of Tantra

-Nov 7 – Nov 28 Teachings on The Womb, Karma and Transcendence

  • Streaming classes will be offered via an online webinar software like Fuze, Google Hangouts or the equivalent. Connection details will be provided well in advance, and we’ll make it as easy as possible for you. And please connect 10-15 minutes early to ensure your own minimal technical distress.
  • Three-day, at-home retreats:
  • -Mar 25-27, on the Brahma Viharas;-May 21-23, on the Common Foundations (Four Thoughts That Turn The Mind);-Sept 3-5, on on Chenrezig & Compassion.
  • A one-time program fee of US$475 to cover program operating costs for the year. (This fee increases to $500 for payments made after Nov. 5th.) Please note that Clear Sky retreat costs are separate and not included. Click here to make this payment.
  • Ongoing commitment to your own and others’ spiritual unfoldment, including (aspiring) awakening in this lifetime.
  • Regular personal meditation practice;
  • An open heart and open mind.

Apply for Year Long Dharma Program


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About Your Teachers

Dharma Teacher Doug DuncanDoug Duncan is a Canadian-born Dharma teacher and counselor who has traveled, studied and meditated for most of his life. He has taught and founded centers for awakening in Japan and Canada as well as being a visiting teacher in many other countries. Known for his direct and compassionate engagement with students, Doug embraces the full spectrum of the various traditions he employs – in particular the different Buddhist vehicles, psychology, neuroscience, Western mysteries – in order to mentor beings to a more awakened state. His great sense of humour, caring attitude and sometimes very direct involvement makes him an effective catalyst for opening the shadow, for very practical application of the teachings, for humorous and gentle relief when tensions mount and through a diverse range of explorations expands the teachings to include all aspects of life.





Dharma Teacher Catherine PawasaratCatherine Pawasarat has developed awakening for the alleviation of suffering for all beings by training daily with awakening master Doug Duncan Sensei since 1997.  She lived in Kyoto, Japan for twenty years, studying the traditional Japanese arts and working as an advocacy journalist, interpreter/translator and editor specializing in sustainability. She spent a year studying shamanism in the Brasilian Amazon before beginning her intensive dharma apprenticeship with Doug Duncan Sensei in 1997. With Doug Sensei and other students, Catherine helped found Dharma Japan and the Clear Sky Retreat Centre in Canada. In particular Catherine focuses on dharma training and how sustainability figures in the practices of awakening and vice versa. Her diverse and multi-disciplinary talents enable her to serve the Clear Sky board as their Chief Visionary Officer.





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January 1, 2016
8:00 am - 5:59 pm UTC+0
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